This in itself is bad enough, but among Forbes' most glaring gaffs, the statement that San Diego is "flat." That's so wrong, it's funny. The photo shows Upas Street between Florida Street and Park Boulevard, coming up from Florida Canyon on the north side of Balboa Park. Indeed, the city is built around canyons. I can't think of one core neighborhood that doesn't have at least one substantial hill. Obviously, these Forbes people have never tried to squeeze into the bike lane alongside two narrow lanes of aggressive traffic to get either up or down the epic Texas Street hill between Interstate 8 and Adams Avenue. Or how about trying to get from the vaunted velodrome on the east side of Balboa Park to the zoo or museums on the west side? Yeah, there's a hill. Don't even get me started on Little Italy or Banker's Hill (yeah, "hill"). There's another neighborhood called "Hillcrest." It's right there in the name. Hill.
And that doesn't even begin to address the wheel-bendingly horrible condition of the streets and roads, the pathologically aggressive drivers, the dense network of freeways that bisect otherwise perfectly serviceable bicycle corridors, or the general lack of interest in meaningful bicycle development shown by city and county officials. Not to be a nay-sayer or anything, but really, just what the hell were the Forbes people thinking? The weather is nice, I'll give them that, but only if you like to be all hot and sweaty when you get where you're going.
Bitch, bitch, bitch, I know. But really, the point is this: if San Diego is #3, I worry that we're setting the bar waaaay too low for what it means to be bicycle-friendly. There's a long way to go before San Diego even approaches bicycle-friendly for people who commute or ride on a daily basis, and while this ranking could have the benefit of spurring greater improvements in the future, I do sincerely hope that it doesn't create a sense of complacency among our public officials. I know that the SDCBC will continue to push for meaningful improvements, and that others will continue to work to try to make San Diego live up to its undeserved high-ranking, and until then, I guess I'll take comfort--while laboring up to Park Boulevard from Florida Canyon--that San Diego is flat.